Friday, 2 March 2012

Coping with Loss

I am writing today,having read the very sad story of PC David Rathband who was shot and blinded in July 2010 and has now committed suicide. In one unforeseen moment, his life changed forever. Of course he lost his sight, but he also lost a lot other things too.

When I went to the hospital for what I considered to be a routine visit, and was told that I was dying,my life changed forever. I lost my job, my wife became my carer, I was constantly in and out of hospital for long periods,sick for a lot of the time. I lost my independence in most ways. I couldn't physically drive, I earned no money and could barely move. I was a passenger instead of the driver.

Some of those things have improved over the five years that I have been treated, but I am very far from being the person that I was!! Now after all the years of treatment, I have lost a lot of my hair, my smell, my taste, and I struggle even to dress myself at times. I still wake most days and wonder if my life before cancer really happened! Although I have the pics to prove it did. Even now, I cannot accept that I will not be the person I was. Apparently that is why I need tablets to make me sleep

It is extremely difficult for a person who has been so independent, to suddenly have to rely on other people. Everyone says it is ok, of course. Family friends etc are all very supportive, but what they can't understand is that feeling of uselessness that is inside you. I live with that every day.

Only someone who has experienced those emotions can understand those feelings. I couldn't understand why I could not achieve any satisfaction in my life, no matter what I was doing. It was explained to me by a clinical psychiatrist dealing in oncology that I am still grieving for my former life! That is why I cannot be satisfied, currently.

As we all know, people deal with grief in different ways. I had always associated grief with losing someone but it was explained that it is just as appropriate for losing SOMETHING, that we loved/ cared about.

Losing someone or something you love is very painful. After a significant loss, you may experience all kinds of difficult and surprising emotions, such as shock, anger, and guilt. Sometimes it may feel like the sadness will never let up.

While these feelings can be frightening and overwhelming, they are normal reactions to loss. Accepting them as part of the grieving process and allowing yourself to feel what you feel is necessary for healing.

There is no right or wrong way to grieve, but there are healthy ways to cope with the pain. You can get through it! Grief that is expressed and experienced has a potential for healing that eventually can strengthen and enrich life.

I wanted to explain by using my own case as an example that there are so many other things that are triggered by a cancer diagnosis, that people sometimes forget about. In many cases people don't even like to mention them.

Apologies if this is a slightly heavy Friday post, but this story struck a cord with me and how lucky I am to have the support network that I do. Thank you Team Lewis!!!

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